How to Keep Your Child Safe Online

Internet SafetyAdvice and information on how to keep your child safe online.

The internet is such an integral part of children's lives. It opens up so many educational and social opportunities, giving them access to a world of information and experiences. Whether on a computer at school, a laptop, a games console or mobile phone, children and young people are increasingly accessing the internet whenever they can and wherever they are. However, there are risks associated with new technologies and it is essential for young people and their parents / carers to understand how to reduce these risks.

 

 

 

These days children are using computers from a very young age …..

• Start setting some boundaries, even at this early age … it’s never too early to do things like setting limits for the amount of time they can spend on the computer.

• Make sure devices like your mobile, tablet or laptop are out of reach. Set up passwords/PINs and make sure you keep these details to yourself.

• On computers and any other devices your child has access to, set the parental controls to the appropriate age, and enabling access to only appropriate content.

• Buy or download parental control software, switch it on and keep it updated. There are many versions on the market, which work in different ways and available at a range of prices, starting at free.

• The big four Internet Service Providers (ISPs) give their customers free parental controls which can be activated at any time. Check them out and take advantage of them.

• Buy or download only apps, games, online TV and films which have age ratings, which you should check before allowing your child to play with or watch them.

• Share your technology rules with grandparents, babysitters and your child’s friends’ parents so that they know what to do when looking after your child.

• When using public WiFi – for example in cafés or hotels – remember that it might not include parental controls. Innocently letting your child play with your mobile or tablet while you’re enjoying a latte may result in them accessing inappropriate content or revealing personal information.

• If you have a family computer or tablet, set the homepage to an appropriate website such as Cbeebies


Is your child aged 6 to 9 years old?
• On computers and any other devices your child has access to, set the parental controls to the appropriate age, and enabling access to only appropriate content.
• Buy or download parental control software, switch it on and keep it updated. There are many versions on the market, which work in different ways and available at a range of prices, starting at free.
• The big four Internet Service Providers (ISPs) give their customers free parental controls which can be activated at any time. Check them out and take advantage of them.
• Agree a list of websites your child is allowed to visit and the kind of personal information they shouldn’t reveal about themselves online, such as the name of their school or their home address.
• Set time limits for activities such as using the internet and games consoles.
• Make sure your child is accessing only age-appropriate content by checking out the age ratings on games, online TV, films and apps.
• Discuss with your older children what they should or shouldn’t be showing their younger siblings on the internet, mobile devices, games consoles and other devices.
• Discuss with other parents subjects such as what age to buy children devices that connect to the internet.
• Don’t be pressured by your child into letting them use certain technologies or view certain online content, if you don’t think they are old enough or mature enough… no matter how much they pester you or what their friends’ parents allow.

Advice if your child is aged 13 or over
Get switched on about:
• It’s never too late to reinforce boundaries … your child may think they are adult enough, but they definitely still need your wisdom and guidance.
• You may be starting to think your child knows more about using technology than you do, and you may be right. Make it your business to keep up to date and discuss what you know with your child.
• Talk frankly to your child about how they explore issues related to the health, wellbeing, body image and sexuality of themselves and others online. They may be discovering inaccurate or dangerous information on online at what is a vulnerable time in their lives.
• Review the settings on parental controls in line with your child’s age and maturity and adjust them if appropriate. They may ask you to trust them sufficiently to turn them off completely, but think carefully before you do and agree in advance what is acceptable online behaviour.
• Also talk frankly to your child about how they behave towards others, particularly with regard to what they post online. Be willing to have frank conversations about bullying, and posting hurtful, misleading or untrue comments. Make them aware of the dangers of behaviours like sexting and inappropriate use of webcams.
• Give your child control of their own budget for activities like downloading apps and music, but agree boundaries beforehand so that they manage their money responsibly. Don’t give them access to your payment card or other financial details.
• Be clear in your own mind on issues such as copyrighted material and plagiarism so that you can explain to your child what is legal and what isn’t.
• If your child has the technological know-how – and with sufficient influence from others – they could be vulnerable to experimenting with accessing confidential information from the websites of other people or companies. Hacking amongst this age group is very rare, but it does exist. Explain the dangers and consequences.
Here are some questions you could discuss with your children, now that they are older:
• Do you really know everybody on your ‘friends’ list?
• Do you know how to use and set privacy and security settings? Can you show me how?
• Do you ever get messages from strangers? If so, how do you handle them?
• Do you know anyone who has made plans to meet someone offline that they’ve only ever spoken to online?
• Are people in your group of friends ever mean to each other, or to other people, online or on phones? If so, what do they say? Has anyone ever been mean to you? Would you tell me about it if they were?
• Has anyone at your school, or anyone else you know, taken naked or sexy photos and sent them to other people, or received photos like that?
Please check out our facebook page for details and helpful tips on educating younger children.

 

 As a force we regularly deliver Internet safety lessons and presentations to schools across the county, to raise awareness and provide advice to young people on how to stay safe online. The child exploitation and online protection centre (CEOP) is the UK’s national child protection agency. If you have any concerns or would like further information regarding internet safety please visit CEOP’s think you know educational website www.thinkuknow.co.uk and view the video on child safety on Jigsaw (SEN) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_OYYv4g19w.

 

Child Exploitation and Online Protection What is CEOP?

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre is dedicated to eradicating the sexual abuse of children. That means they are part of UK policing and very much about tracking and bringing offenders to account either directly or in partnership with local and international forces.

 

 

 

 

Parents' guide to the latest social media and IM (instant messaging) trends


It seems that almost every week there is a new app or website that kids are using to IM (instant message) each other and it can be hard to keep up. It’s important for parents to know how these work, and how old your child should be to use them, usually 13 or over, to help avoid cyberbullying and sexting.

Family Lives provides guides, information and advice for parents on the latest media and instant messaging apps.

 

 



Guide for parents whose children have got into trouble online.  
 

This guide offers advice and suggests what to do as a parent if your child has been accessing pornography, sending and receiving images of peers, and if a child has been arrested for accessing illegal material. Click here for more information.